International Market Centers has formed a partnership with the city of Las Vegas that will result in the construction of a 350,000-square-foot Expo Center on the IMC-operated World Market Center campus which will provide temporary space for the established twice-yearly furniture, gift and home decor show as well as the basis of, potentially, new permanent showroom space.
Robert Maricich, IMC CEO, told HomeWorld Business that the project will incorporate foundations for a permanent showroom structure that can rise over the Expo Center and reconstructed garage space at 100,000 square feet up to a million square feet. As such, IMC can construct permanent showroom space to demand, Maricich said, at once or in increments over time. A decision about permanent showroom space should come nine to 12 months from now. The Expo Center temporary space will take over from the Pavilions section currently undertaken at the winter and summer Las Vegas Markets. Show plans for the Expo Center itself focus on high-quality trade and related commercial shows, although building plans allow for flexibility in facility use.
The Las Vegas World Market Center campus incorporates almost 60 acres in the city core.
The new Expo Center will provide state-of-the-art exhibition and meeting space in the downtown area for corporate and private events, meetings and trade shows. It also will figure into future Las Vegas Market furniture, gift and home décor trade events, which attract about 100,000 attendees annually, the company said.
Currently, some 200,000 square feet of available conference and temporary exhibition space in downtown Las Vegas spreads across multiple locations, but the largest single venue configures to only 30,000 to 40,000 square feet. The available space places limits on downtown Las Vegas in terms of attracting larger scale conventions, trade shows and events. A major event space, the Cashman Center, closed in December.
The Expo Center’s $76 million cost will include a $30 million city of Las Vegas contribution, funded through a tax increment financing note. Construction will begin in 12 to 18 months under current plans and take about 18 months to complete. The Expo Center design will maintain architectural consistency with and connection to several of the existing World Market Center structures. Near completion, the final design will include exposition, meeting/office and back-of-house and administrative function space.
“The city of Las Vegas has been a great host and partner to the World Market Center Las Vegas since its opening in 2005,” said Maricich. “This significant new development will greatly benefit the city of Las Vegas and IMC, and we are grateful for their continued support of our business and campus.”
He added, “This new Expo Center will address demand for modern convention, trade show and meeting space that is currently limited in the downtown area, particularly following the closing of the Cashman Center’s facility.”
Blackstone and Fireside Investments acquired IMC in September 2017, raising speculation about further development of the World Market Center site. Tyler Henritze, senior managing director and head of U.S. acquisitions at Blackstone, said, “This investment demonstrates our long-term commitment to IMC’s home furnishings and gift business, and this important expansion will allow for the pursuit of new business opportunities on their Las Vegas campus.”